Canning Cupboard

      59 Comments on Canning Cupboard

Canning cupboard that my Dad made.

Storing Home Canned Goods

For more information, read my post How To Store Your Home Canned Foods

It’s important to store your home canned meats, fruits and vegetables properly. Cool temperatures and dark conditions help to retain the color, flavor, and nutrients of your canned goods. You also need to make sure that the shelving will hold the weight of all the glass jars and their contents. They are quite heavy, especially when you put several dozen jars on a shelf. Particle board won’t cut it…and don’t buy any of those pre-fab shelving units made of ‘MDF’ (medium density fiberboard).

Plywood and pine will hold up fairly well as long as you don’t put up long stretches without enough brackets to support the load. I’ve also used the heavy duty plastic shelving units to store my canned goods. But if you are handy, or you’re blessed with a handy Dad (like me!), you can build a really cool canning cupboard that will hold the weight of your canned goods, plus keep the light, dust, and cats off them! I can’t give you instructions to build this cabinet, but there are plenty of plans available online. Instead, I’d like to show off my Dad’s handiwork and the beauty of this wood.

This photo shows the color and grain of the red pine used to make this cupboard.

A Homemade Canning Cupboard

Made in the USA by my Dad!

My Dad’s made some really nice things for me. I have two bookcases, an end table, and a stool that he made for me in the past, some of them from my childhood. When my parents came to visit for our 25th anniversary, they brought this awesome canning cabinet that Dad made for us. He built one for their canned goods and then wondered if I would like one too. Well, naturally I jumped on that offer like a cat on a mouse!

This cabinet is very special to me, not just because my Dad made it (although that is reason enough), but also because of the lumber used to make it. The gorgeous red pine (Pinus resinosa) was planted by my Grandma M, along with her parents (my Great Grandma and Great Grandpa D) and her brother, my Uncle Lyle. My Grandma was a year or 3 shy of 20 when they planted a stand of Red Pine on the land that my Dad later inherited. I remember my Dad climbing into the tops of a few of those pines to cut our Christmas tree when I was young. I loved riding horseback through the shade of the pines, where there was little underbrush.

The pines that they planted are growing old, and many of the trees they planted have fallen or are tipping. My Dad has been harvesting the lumber for a few years now. He takes the felled trees to an Amish sawmill nearby for processing.

Ready to fill with home canned goodies!


I love the color and grain of this wood. Red pines are so named because of the reddish color of their wood. My photos don’t do justice to the beauty of the lumber. I’m so happy to have another piece of furniture made by my Dad, from trees he dragged out of the woods and hauled to the sawmill. To think of my youthful Grandma planting out seedlings makes me appreciate the history of this cabinet. It’s life began well before my Dad fashioned it’s current form. You can’t buy that at the lumber yard.


Have you harvested your own lumber and made furniture from it?


Update: I’ve had several people ask me for more information about the size of my canning cupboard, so I measured.

Here are the (outside) dimensions of the canning cupboard…
41″ wide
20″ deep
64″ tall (including little wheels for moving the cupboard)
The top shelf is 8″ tall and the rest of the shelves are 9″ tall.
(distance is the space between the shelves, which are a good 1″ thick…solid pine)
My Dad made the cupboard so that quart size jars will fit on all of the shelves, although the top shelf is often used for pints and half pints.
He built it with strips of wood that run vertically in each corner on the inside of the side panels to hold the shelves in place (they run from the top of one shelf to the bottom of the top shelf, helping to support the shelf) and also there are supporting strips of wood placed vertically in the center where there is a wood piece that separates the doors. He also attached each shelf with either a screw or a dowel rod from the outside of the cabinet (on the sides) through the wood into the edges of the shelves. (If he actually used screws, he then fit a small piece of dowel into each hole and glued in place…I need to check with him on that.)
The whole cabinet is very solid and could probably withstand several stout people sitting on it…if they felt like climbing up there!

59 comments on “Canning Cupboard

  1. Roy

    Love the jam cupboard ! I sure would like the dimension of the cupboard so I can build one like it for our canning jars.


    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Roy,
      No problem! The cupboard is 62″ tall x 39″ wide x 20″ deep. The top shelf is 7.5″ tall, and the rest of the shelves are 9″ tall. I can put quart jars on each level. I use the top shelf more for pint and half pint jars of jam, pickles, or salsa. My Dad made one similar to this for my Mom…they have it stuffed full too. 🙂

  2. ladyofquality

    What a beautiful cupboard, and a beautiful post. You are blessed! I still live on the original homestead of my great grandparents in MN, and five years ago we knocked down the old house my grandpa built and put up a new one behind it. In doing so, we had to take down the biggest, oldest tree on the farm, a very stately black walnut. I suppose we should’ve picked a different spot, but it was *perfect* for a new house. My father had planted that tree as a toddler with his father in the 40’s, and he was sad to see it come down. We took it to a local sawmill, and my cousin, who is a carpenter, made it into a very large and gorgeous table. We wrote a short ‘story’ of the table underneath it with a black permanent marker so it would be preserved. Hopefully it will be a lovely heirloom!


    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Thanks so much, Martha! How wonderful that you turned that tree into a piece of furniture to be cherished for generations to come! Thanks for sharing your story with us!

  3. Karen

    WOW! I am so envious! Absolutely gorgeous! And I love the history that goes along with it. So glad I found your blog!

  4. Katie/Maple Grove

    Absolutely gorgeous Lisa Lynn! I’m so happy for you to have such a wonderful Dad and family and beautiful crafted handiwork that is also nostalgic! I just love it! Beauty and charm and practical all wrapped up into one. Thank you for sharing this with us and giving us inspiration! ~Katie

  5. Kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts

    Lisa Lynn,
    What a lovely cabinet and a thoughtful story. Looks like you either need another one, or need to get eating, because there’s not room to put up this season’s bounty! Thank you for sharing.

  6. Deb

    This is gorgeous. My dad does furniture sometimnes from wood taken from their woods. They didn’t plant them but they lived at the same place for 30 yrs. I just sore mine on heavy metal shelving which holds dozens of jars and then make a curtain from a thrifted sheet to make it dark for my food. This is beautiful, tell your dad so. Thanks for sharing.

  7. gardenbug

    I like this cupboard at its history! I wish my vegetables ripened when temperatures were cooler because i hat turning on the stove in August & September!

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Thanks Gardenbug! I hear you! I’ve been thinking about the idea of canning outside with propane…I just hate to buy extra equipment.

  8. Maureen Bullis

    I am visiting you from Katherine ‘s Corner’s blog hop. I have been following you on Pinterest.
    I am so inspired by your blog! I am determined to do some canning.

  9. Carol

    Wonderful cabinet and story. My husband built a sawmill and he saws lumber all the time. He makes things for me and the “Grands”, which always mean more when they come from our land.
    I love admiring all my hard work on my canning shelves, and using it in the winter is just the best.
    Your canning looks positively beautiful.

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Loyda!
      I’m sorry I don’t have any info on bulk jars to share. If anyone else does, I’d be interested in hearing about it too. 🙂 I’ve picked up most of mine on sale, Freecycle, or garage sales…or from my Mom finding them at the Methodist Church rummage sale a couple times a year.

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Thanks Carol! How could I not share this?! I had a little trouble getting good photos because it’s in the basement. But I’ve been planning this post since my parents’ visit!

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Thank you Daisy! My Dad told me that it should be big enough to hold all of my canned goods. Erm, well…it holds most of them. Reorganizing my goodies made me realize that I need to use up a few things here so I’ll have room to put fresh stuff this year! Gotta go through the canned goods more often!

  10. Jenny

    No. 🙁 We don’t have a woodlot, and by the time ours grows, I don’t think we’ll be able to use it for furniture. This is a beautiful piece though! I’m envious. I don’t really have a cupboard, Right now I just have everything in a cabinet above the dryer but, we are fast growing out of it so something else needs to be done. I’d love to have my husband do something like this for me.

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Jenny!
      If you plant pine trees you might have wood in time to use it. There are some fast growing trees. Generally faster growing trees have softer wood, so you may need thicker boards to hold the weight. You can still make some wonderful storage with lumber purchased! You could do a little hinting around about what you’d like. 😉

      Thanks! I’m showing off my Dad’s creation here, so I was kinda looking for a little bit of envy (but not too much!) 🙂

  11. Meredith/GreenCircleGrove

    Beautiful cupboard–inside and out! We harvested enough lumber to frame an addition to our house–my grandfather planted a lot of trees for the future, and we are the future!

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Thank you Meredith 🙂 That’s wonderful that you were able to frame the addition to your home! It’s so cool to grow up on land that has been in the family for generations. Not many people have that experience. Thanks for stopping by!

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Thanks Laura! My Dad really outdid himself on this project! 🙂 And I’m with you! Pics of home canned goodies definitely trump photos of fashion or home decor. 😉

  12. terrirochenski

    LOVE that cabinet! Can’t wait until I have my first harvest (in our new home) all packaged up so pretty-like. 🙂


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